Cinema News: Talented Icelandic Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson Has Died at Age 48


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Jóhann Jóhannsson

Oh no. This is so tragic. Icelandic musician / composer Jóhann Jóhannsson has passed away, according to multiple reports online (see: THR) that confirm the news with his manager. According to the reports, Jóhannsson died at age 48 in Berlin, where he was living, though no other details about what happened are known yet. This hits really hard, because Jóhannsson was on his way to starting an awesome career as a very talented, very unique composer for films as well as theatre, dance and TV. His most recent work includes the score for Darren Aronofsky’s mother! (not in the final cut), the Danish film In the Blood, and Colin Firth’s The Mercy. He also earned two Oscar nominations for his scores for The Theory of Everything and Sicario.

Jóhann was born and raised in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1969, where he later went on to study languages and literature at university. He started his musical career as a guitarist playing in indie rock bands. He has been making albums since 2002, but first got into film scores with Lou Ye’s Mystery in 2012. He went on to write scores for Prisoners, The Theory of Everything, Sicario, Lovesong, Arrival, mother!, The Mercy, and a few others. Jóhannsson made an awesome score for Panos Cosmatos’ new film Mandy, starring Nicolas Cage, which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (I love this score). And he also finished a score for Mary Magdalene, which has been delayed due to release problems with The Weinstein Company in the US (it’ll be released by Focus Features in Europe). He also wrote a score for Blade Runner 2049 but they did not use it.

This really hits hard because Jóhann Jóhannsson was such a talented, incredible composer already making exceptionally moving music. And he was just beginning to show how impressive he was at creating unique scores for films, beginning what could’ve become an iconic career with so many memorable scores. This all makes me so sad, especially because it was a surprise, completely unexpected. And there’s not much we can do but pay our respects to this great artist. Jóhannsson signed with Deutsche Grammophon in 2016, and released what is now his last solo album Orphée – it’s definitely worth listening to if you haven’t heard it yet. And if you already have, listen to it again, and again, and play it loud in honor of Jóhannsson. Rest in peace.

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Cinema News: Talented Icelandic Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson Has Died at Age 48

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